Puffers- banging my head

The forum for puffers that either live or start in brackish biotopes: GSPs, F8s, Ceylons & more.
User avatar
JayEmpty
Puffer Fry
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:50 pm
Location (country): USA

Puffers- banging my head

Post by JayEmpty » Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:06 pm

Hi. Sorry my first post is very tragic.

My Green Spotted Puffer is dying. Please note of my water parameters below (API Freshwater Master Test Kit was used):

PH- 7.6
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite- 0
Nitrate- 5
Water Temp- 79F
Salinity- 1.002

This is a fully cycled tank 29 gallon tank and has been running for three months on an Aqueon QuietFlow Aquarium Power Filter 30. I got this puffer two weeks ago and has been on an alternating diet of frozen shrimp (bought fresh, then cleaned, then frozen) and bladder and/or ramshorn snails, once a day. I had guppies for the last two months on this tank before the puffer, and one month of cycling before that. The tank has some short jungle vals, some java moss, and a couple of anubias nana and nana petite on driftwood. I also placed a small air stone on the left corner of the tank. Filter was running on the right side. This puffer is the only inhabitant of the tank. Well, probably some small snails that are hiding in the plants. I am half dosing the tank with API Leaf Zone once a week, and for this instance, I am running a DIY CO2 sugar/yeast formula 24/7.

This puffer was sold as a freshwater puffer by the LFS, was drip acclimated for 3 hours and had stayed on the tank with freshwater for five days. Raised the pH from 7.2 to 7.6 by adding crushed coral on top of the sand and the salinity to 1.001 after the first water change (and cleaning) last Friday. I used one handful of Instant Ocean Marine Salt on a bucket of water and let it sit for one day and one night with a running air stone to supposedly melt the salt (sorry, no scientific data on this, I just read it somewhere). Used a refractometer to measure the salinity. The water used is prepared one hour before in 5 gallon water bottles (we have 6, all used for water changes). API Stress Coat+ was used as dechlorinator and added API Quick Start to add some biological bacteria for reinforcement. Everything seemed okay and the fish seemed okay. It was eating well and swimming well.

I did another water change (and cleaning) yesterday (Friday) and raised the salinity to 1.002. Everything was okay, it ate shrimp this morning and was swimming in the bubbles. I use a plant forceps to feed the puffer. This afternoon (today is Saturday), I saw the puffer nose down behind the vals and the skin was already really dark and it seems like it was twitching. I used a plant forceps to nudge it a bit. It moved and swam away but only for a short distance and it landed a little hard on the substrate. Breathing is labored.

I did another test with the above mentioned results.

Background: I have 5 tanks (10, 30 high, 55, 20 long, and this 29). The first 3 are all freshwater. The 20 long is quarantine. However, this is not my first brackish tank and I have a lot of dead puffers on me. No matter what I do, I can't seem to keep them alive for more than 4 weeks. First set was four GSPs on the same 29 gallon tank, all died within four weeks. I thought, okay, I was over eager and didn't really know much. I placed a lot of puffers in a tank, but they were just about an inch then. Next was the following week right after the last puffer died, bought 2. Died within one week, both of them.

Restarted the tank. Cycled it for a month and half, put one Figure 8. Dead after the second week. Got another F8, died on the 3rd day.

WTHeck! What was I doing wrong? Didn't have any problems with my other tanks. 10 gallon has 6 dwarf puffers, 30 gallon high has one 5 inch trimac cichlid. 55 gallon is planted, with neon tetras, pearl danios, pygmy cories, dwarf gouramies, cherry shrimps, ramshorns, trumpet snails, amanos, and bladder snails, and used to be a South Afican Cichlid tank. All these tanks have been running for more than a year. I feel that I've followed the steps and did all that I can (even bought the Marine Salt and Refractomer, even when the people from the LFS said that the puffers are okay with high PH), read a lot of pages and have been to a lot of websites already. I slowly acclimated them, checked the water parameters always, made sure that the water is clean, made regular water changes, and always check the salinity. I'm a very hands-on guy with my tanks. So what the heck am I doing wrong?

So I stopped with brackish waters. Didn't seem to have the ability (or knowledge) to handle brackish.

Restarted the tank again and decided to have guppies. Even had some fry. I was quite okay with them, until two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago, I saw this GSP on the store. When I moved towards it and touched the glass, it didn't flinch. It moved towards my hand while the others moved away. So, even though I know I have several guppies in my 29, I didn't hesitate and bought this puffer.

Went home, moved all my guppies to the quarantine tank (20 long), and you know what happened already.

That's it and my wife just told me that the poor puffer is no longer moving and has stopped breathing.

Another dead puffer... because of me. I had such high hopes on this one.

So, please, I need to know, what the heck am I doing wrong? I didn't think it's the CO2 or the fertilizer because of my previous dead puffers. I didn't use it then. But could they be the reason now?

Thanks for taking the time to read my epic mini novel. I would really appreciate any suggestions, tips, and all that would help me if I would venture out and risk a new puffer again.

Now, I will just take my leave and bury another puffer.

Disclaimer: I'm not advertising for the products I've mentioned. They are just the ones that I use in my tanks.
Last edited by JayEmpty on Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Pufferpunk
Queen Admin
Posts: 30735
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am
Gender: Female
My Puffers: Filbert, the 12" T lineatus
Punkster, the 4" red T miurus
Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
C coranata
C papuan
Also kept:
lorteti
DPs
suvattii
burrfish
T niphobles
Location (country): USA, Greenville, SC
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: Puffers- banging my head

Post by Pufferpunk » Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:56 pm

Wow.... You sure seem to be doing everything right! Are these all coming from the same shop? Same tank/system at the LFS?
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"

User avatar
JayEmpty
Puffer Fry
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:50 pm
Location (country): USA

Re: Puffers- banging my head

Post by JayEmpty » Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:14 am

Thanks for the quick reply.

Yes. I am getting them from the same LFS. Yes also from the same system and always from the same tank. Hmmm, could it be a case of "it's you and not me?" Although I was trying to source out some other puffers online, shipping always discourages me, more so now. Any recommendations? I'm somewhere in Jersey City, 07304. :)

I also read a lot of stuff from this website including the Library materials. Very informative.

Tear down and try again? Aragonite sand? No plants, no CO2, no ferts?

But first, is something amiss from my end? Did I miss a step? Overdid something?

Thanks again for any suggestions and advice.

User avatar
Pufferpunk
Queen Admin
Posts: 30735
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am
Gender: Female
My Puffers: Filbert, the 12" T lineatus
Punkster, the 4" red T miurus
Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
C coranata
C papuan
Also kept:
lorteti
DPs
suvattii
burrfish
T niphobles
Location (country): USA, Greenville, SC
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: Puffers- banging my head

Post by Pufferpunk » Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:40 am

I would keep it as simple as possible. I'd also try another source for your puffers. Are there no other LFS?
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"

User avatar
JayEmpty
Puffer Fry
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:50 pm
Location (country): USA

Re: Puffers- banging my head

Post by JayEmpty » Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:41 pm

No other LFS near me, at least. The next one is about an hour and a half away. I'll look into it. Meanwhile, tank tear down or just keep it running? Thanks again.

User avatar
Pufferpunk
Queen Admin
Posts: 30735
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am
Gender: Female
My Puffers: Filbert, the 12" T lineatus
Punkster, the 4" red T miurus
Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
C coranata
C papuan
Also kept:
lorteti
DPs
suvattii
burrfish
T niphobles
Location (country): USA, Greenville, SC
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: Puffers- banging my head

Post by Pufferpunk » Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:07 am

Without knowing any of the symptoms, I'm not sure what your next course is. It certainly wouldn't hurt to bleach everything, just in case it's parasites/bacteria.
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"

User avatar
JayEmpty
Puffer Fry
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:50 pm
Location (country): USA

Re: Puffers- banging my head

Post by JayEmpty » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:11 pm

Okay. So I would break this tank down and bleach everything.

Oh, I was wondering. Since I would restart this tank and I am looking at adding plants, would putting Osmocote+ under a sand substrate would have any negative effects on the puffer that would be living in the tank?

Thanks a lot for the help. Much appreciated.

User avatar
Pufferpunk
Queen Admin
Posts: 30735
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am
Gender: Female
My Puffers: Filbert, the 12" T lineatus
Punkster, the 4" red T miurus
Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
C coranata
C papuan
Also kept:
lorteti
DPs
suvattii
burrfish
T niphobles
Location (country): USA, Greenville, SC
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: Puffers- banging my head

Post by Pufferpunk » Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:26 pm

10% bleach & water.
NO to the Osmocote.
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"

User avatar
JayEmpty
Puffer Fry
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:50 pm
Location (country): USA

Re: Puffers- banging my head

Post by JayEmpty » Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:15 am

Got that, including the Osmocote. How about other ferts and DIY CO2? Do they have any bearing on the health of the puffer in a brackish tank? Are there any ferts that should be avoided?

I emptied out the water this evening. I'll clean it tomorrow.

Thanks again. Really appreciate all the help.

User avatar
Pufferpunk
Queen Admin
Posts: 30735
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am
Gender: Female
My Puffers: Filbert, the 12" T lineatus
Punkster, the 4" red T miurus
Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
C coranata
C papuan
Also kept:
lorteti
DPs
suvattii
burrfish
T niphobles
Location (country): USA, Greenville, SC
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: Puffers- banging my head

Post by Pufferpunk » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:01 am

Plants are touch-and-go in BW, as most will rot in the salty water (especially the high-end BW they will need as adults). In addition, it is highly suggested to eventually get these fish into SW eventually.
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"

User avatar
JayEmpty
Puffer Fry
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:50 pm
Location (country): USA

Re: Puffers- banging my head

Post by JayEmpty » Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:42 pm

Last one. :-)

How often should puffers (GSP or F8) be fed? What is a desired formula (or a routine) that one can follow when feeding? I asked because I was feeding once daily. The tummy gets a little fuller sometimes and the puffer is around 2 inches already.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

User avatar
Pufferpunk
Queen Admin
Posts: 30735
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:06 am
Gender: Female
My Puffers: Filbert, the 12" T lineatus
Punkster, the 4" red T miurus
Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
C coranata
C papuan
Also kept:
lorteti
DPs
suvattii
burrfish
T niphobles
Location (country): USA, Greenville, SC
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: Puffers- banging my head

Post by Pufferpunk » Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:29 pm

1x/day, skipping 1 day/week.
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"

User avatar
JayEmpty
Puffer Fry
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:50 pm
Location (country): USA

Re: Puffers- banging my head

Post by JayEmpty » Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:33 pm

I think this should be the last one....

API Leaf Zone and DIY CO2 yeast/sugar formula, are these safe for a F8 or GSP? Since plants are kinda "touch and go" on a brackish aquarium, I was thinking that these would help plant growth. Any recommendations?

Thanks again.

Eiko
Puffer Fry
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:16 pm
Location (country): Europe

Re: Puffers- banging my head

Post by Eiko » Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:35 pm

Did you medicate them when you got them? Also maybe try to give more variety in foods. But it might be because of where they came from. Your second was probably gonna die in the end because it was sick. And the travel and change of water, he was probably too weak and could not handle it, even tho drip acclimated. It doesnt have to be your fault. It could even be in the shrimp you give, so the fault doesnt always lie by you. You could be very very unlucky.

User avatar
JayEmpty
Puffer Fry
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:50 pm
Location (country): USA

Re: Puffers- banging my head

Post by JayEmpty » Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:25 am

Eiko wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:35 pm
Did you medicate them when you got them?
Hmmm... I used melafix when they came in my quarantine tank for 7 days. Is there any medication that I could have used but did not?
Eiko wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:35 pm
Also maybe try to give more variety in foods.
I usually give ramshorns/bladder snails, cultured tubifex/black worms, (I have a small 3 gallon jar for snails and another for 3 for the worms.) and frozen shrimps. However, for this last GSP, I only gave snails and shrimps as I am running short on worms. Should I have given something else?
Eiko wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:35 pm
But it might be because of where they came from. Your second was probably gonna die in the end because it was sick. And the travel and change of water, he was probably too weak and could not handle it, even tho drip acclimated. It doesnt have to be your fault. It could even be in the shrimp you give, so the fault doesnt always lie by you. You could be very very unlucky.
Maybe Pufferpunk was right and it could be the store where I bought the puffers from, or I could just be very, very, very unlucky. Although, I could also be doing something wrong. I just hope that I know what it is. Otherwise, I could be repeating them again.

Thank you very much for replying. Much appreciated.

Anyways. I will be trying again with Amazon Puffers coming in next week. I bought these two from an online store. We'll see. Hopefully, things would be easier this time. Inasmuch as I would want to go brackish and learn, I'll stick to freshwater for the moment. After all, my dwarf puffers seem to be doing okay.

Post Reply